All Articles Tagged "big chop"
For years, the idea of cutting my hair was a huge no-no. I was running scared from the shears.
I used to watch Tyra Banks’ “America’s Next Top Model” and shutter along with the unfortunate young woman chosen to go from luscious, cascading locks, to damn near bald. I related the process to essentially being scalped–very dramatic I know, but this was high school, and just the sight of scissors for a trim terrified me.
It also didn’t help that friends and family would scare me into not cutting my hair. They would shoot down any hairstyle change I would bring up that had to do with a cut. I can remember wanting to cut my hair and immediately getting shut down by everyone – including my stylist at the time. To all of them, long hair is beautiful, and only those who can’t grow it are trying to chop their hair off. After getting negative responses towards my ideas at every turn, I conceded.
But that was until December 2013, just before the ball dropped for 2014. I was fresh out of college for a few months, tired of my boring hair and in need of an aesthetic change. Still, my childhood stylist would only agree to gift me a long bob. But after doing a little shopping around for stylists, soon after, I was able to go from shoulder length strands to feeling the wind hit the back of my neck.
I haven’t looked or turned back since. I love being my baldy-locs self. I look forward to sitting in the chair and getting a shape-up of sorts to maintain my cropped cut. I enjoy not having my hair in my face or in the way. I’m happy…
But I just wish that my short hair didn’t invite those in my life to believe that dating will now be next to impossible for me. Even with style icons like Nia Long, Halle Berry, Lupita Nyong’o and even Keke Palmer rocking short strands and doing it in a fierce manner, my short hair is being touted as a reason why I’ll never get and keep a man.
Unfortunately, many don’t “get” why I chopped my hair off, and cousins shamelessly ask, “How do guys react to your hair being just as low as theirs is in the back? Are you even dating?”
It’s ludicrous to pin a lack of boyfriends on my lack of hair. The confidence I feel with my cropped ‘do is enough for me to attract the right people – including interested guys – into my circle. I haven’t picked up a new boyfriend because I haven’t had the time to even look for one. The hustle never ends. But if a short haircut is going to keep a guy from being interested in getting to know me better, it’s probably best that we don’t make a connection.
Despite celebrating women of all shades, sizes and hair lengths in various settings, some of us are still slaves to stereotypical standards of beauty, like the need for long hair to look feminine. But I won’t allow my hair to be used as something to explain why I didn’t land a particular job or date. Seriously, it’s just hair.
The right man, along with many other “right” facets of life, will fall into place when it’s time–much like the right hairstyle.
If you’re thinking of taking the scissors to your hair for a “big chop,” but wondering what to expect afterward, worry no more. I sat down with Agnes Ojeh, 26, who is preparing to celebrate her one-year ‘Nappiversary’ soon. She had lots of interesting thoughts and some great advice for those still within their first year, and for those thinking about going natural.
When did you go natural and why?
I’d been thinking about going natural for two years. I decided to take out my weave and transition in 2012. I tried that out and realized it wasn’t working. My textures were two different types and it was very difficult to work with. I got frustrated and in October of 2013, I did the big chop.
Who encouraged you to go natural?
Two of my cousins went natural. One almost four years ago, and her sister went natural shortly after. I thought “Whoa, that’s brave. I would never cut my hair.” I was motivated and inspired by my cousins. I decided to do the big chop because I wanted healthy hair and I didn’t have to base my hairstyle on weaves. I was tired of hiding the transition.
After you did the big chop, what surprised you about your hair?
I noticed that it was just there. I just had to wake up and go. And I was like, “What am I supposed to do with my hair? It’s really gone!” I kind of felt like I had to embrace my hair and embrace who I am. It made me feel renewed, like a brand new person.
Why do you think you were holding on to the length while transitioning?
It was vanity and fear. The older I’ve gotten, the more confident I’ve become. But, there’s just something attached with hair being identified with beauty, and beauty coming from having long hair. I thought I wouldn’t see myself as beautiful with short hair. But I overcame that fear, and that’s why it was so profound for me. I overcame the fear. My self-esteem had to be high, and I didn’t allow any other people’s opinions or views to overshadow what I wanted to do and how I truly felt.
Did you face any opposition to going natural?
Definitely. 100 percent. I wanted to chop before my birthday because I didn’t want to celebrate my birthday with dead hair. At the time, it was my mom’s favorite nephew’s wedding. She said to me, “Why would you want to do that? Who chops their hair right before a wedding?” But my mom had a big afro in the ’70s! She said I couldn’t have short hair and look glamorous. Even my co-workers asked me what I was going to do with no hair.
What did you learn about the day-to-day care of your hair? What was the process like?
It was very trying because I had to learn my texture. Not every product worked well with my hair. Things that one of my favorite hair bloggers used didn’t’ work with my hair. I found myself trying to do twist outs early on, or using lots of products. I spent almost $400 dollars on products trying to find out what works for my hair, and what would give me shine or curl definition. And you know what–I don’t even use half of them!
What advice do you have for others on caring for their hair?
I would encourage a person to do their research on their hair texture. Do as much reading as you can to avoid spending so much money on hair products. Water and a little bit of Shea butter goes a long way! Work with what you have and with what’s accessible.
It takes time to get adjusted and learn your hair. You’re not gonna cut your hair and say, “This is exactly what I wanted.” It takes time to create a regimen. For me, being natural is time consuming because I have to invest [time] in taking care of my hair. It’s like a plant. You have to water it, watch it grow, sing to it, massage it—you have to study hair! Learn to maintain and protect your natural hair as part of your upkeep. It will come with time.
What are your hair goals?
I just can’t wait until I reach four years being natural, or 10 years being natural. I embrace it every day. My end goal is to try new things. I’ve always been so safe; being natural is like a kick-start for me.
What is the best part of your first year after the big chop?
The greatest feeling for me is to watch my hair grow. I just fell in love with my hair. It’s thicker now, it’s healthier and it has more density. Seeing my hair now in its natural state, I think, ‘Why did I ever perm my hair?’ I love embracing how God made me. People have no choice but to respect it and embrace my natural hair as I do because I’m not changing it. Going natural was perfect. It was what I needed. I’m proud that I did [the big chop].
Big choppers of the world have a new national member to add to their crew. Yesterday Tamera Mowry-Housley showed off her new ‘do on Instagram and it’s definitely a big switch. Posting the photo, Tamera wrote:
Love my big chop…love my curl doctor @shaiamiel You did it again
@shaiamiel is Shai Amiel, owner of Capella Salon in Studio City, CA, who literally goes by the name “Curl Doctor” and who showed off Tamera’s big chop on her own Instagram account.
Before the big reveal, Tamera hinted this move was coming when she sent out this tweet while at the salon, but no one knew such a drastic change was in the works.
— Tamera Mowry-Housley (@TameraMowryTwo) January 13, 2014
We’ve gotten so used to seeing Tamera with long flowing locks so this look will definitely take a little time to get used to. We can’t wait to see how she styles it on “The Real.” What do you think about Tamera’s big chop?
I always look at women with buzz cuts as extremely bold and beautiful, mostly because I don’t have the courage to chop my hair off to such a low cut. And probably because I don’t trust my bald head to be so smooth and well…bump-free. So let’s just say I live vicariously through the following beauties, who look or have looked absolutely fabulous with their buzz cuts over the years. And maybe they’ll even give you the courage to try something new with your hair too…
The beauty we know best from Rush Hour 3, who is also a gorgeous French model, chopped her curly coif off years back, and even showed it off in the film (to the shock and damn near horror of Chris Tucker’s character). Lenoir even took it a step further when she dyed the look beach blonde. But the above look, widow’s peak and all, we like best!
Perhaps Nicci Gilbert will find friends amongst naturalists with her new hairdo since she’s been making so many enemies elsewhere.
The “R&B Divas Atlanta” reality star who’s arguable the most talked about — and possibly the most hated — woman on the show just made a somewhat major hair transformation and lived to tell about it on Instagram. Posting the picture above, the former Brownstone group member wrote:
Phase 1 of my big chop short hair don’t care…all natural feels GREAT
While most of her IG followers’ comments are positive and supportive, some are giving the singer a big whoopty doo because A) she used to have short — assumingly natural — hair when she was in Brownstone and B) a lot of people just don’t like her. We also had no clue what Nicci’s real hair looked like since she stepped back into the spotlight since all the ladies on “R&B Divas” regularly rock the long silky weave. From what I see so far, this ‘do looks far more attractive on the 43-year-old and even makes her look a bit younger. I wonder what’s to come in Phase 2.
What do you think about Nicci’s big chop? Do you like?
When it comes to our hair, there’s always someone ready and willing to jump in and provide their two cents. They’re not paying for the up keep, in most cases they’re not taking care of it. They just know how they like for you to wear your hair. So if you decide to cut it off, wear a different style or go natural, please believe your sisters, cousins, man or father will have something to say about it. We checked in with our Facebook and Twitter followers to see what types of comments people have made about their hair.
City Girl: Let my relaxer grow out and my sister said just the other day I was trying to be “African.”
Yolanda: So much, it’s too short, get a weave, take your weave out,weave too long, braids too long, go natural. Just do you!
JC: I get the I must be gay comments too because I wear it short. I also get I look too harsh o_O. Whatever, lol
MzMakeup: From a Natural Hair Nazi that judged me for putting heat in my head from flat iron or blow dry.
Whitney: yes! A black girl told me my natural hair made me look masculine. She can’t grow her own hair though : /
Veyonce: Yes cut my mid back length hair to a bob my cousin stopped speaking to me
Nicole: Absolutely. Mostly from my Dad. Everybody else is cool with and haven’t really made any rude comments except him. He’s cooled down recently. I guess he’s getting used to it.
Angela: Yes! I’ve been natural for 8 months. I recently started wearing my own hair out in different natural styles. My family has been the most brutal. White people give me the best compliments.
Alesia: Not flack, necessarily, but several years ago I reverted from natural back to flat ironed hair, an an older black woman I know very casually “complimented” me by telling how much nicer and professional my hair looked. o_0
Kenneka: HEEEEEELLLL YEAH!! Like our friend MIGUEL said, blacks are the most negative against our own people. I cut my hair off to what you would call a TWA by way of the big chop over a year ago. It’s like I immediately got the stank stare. I have gotten a few compliments from other “naturals,” but honey the others…”why did you have to cut your hair?!” “your hair is TOO natural,”and the list goes on. Mainly from family and those who have known me since my longer, relaxed hair days. But yeah. I always say, you won’t hear it from whites or Hispanics and Asians…any other race, but our own? We are soooo warped into believing that you have to be a certain skin tone, or have your hair a certain way to be pretty. it’s really sad.
Minnie: I say it’s on my head, so it’s none of your business
Karema: Yes, I got sick of wearing weaves because it was damaging my edges from being braided too tight. So last month I cut my hair all off in a cute style to regrow it healthy. All the women loved it but of course the men said ” why you do that?” or the just make a sour puss face. I love it short and I do not regret it.
Melody: Yes. After I transitioned and embraced my Afrocentricity, my ‘WASBAND’ told me I resembled the football player Rosey Grier from behind, and that’s not what he signed on for; I now BASK in MY glory!
Zain: I def received flack from my male “friends” bc I wear a weave that mimics natural hair. According to them, I’m not natural BC my choice of a protective style is not my real hair. These are the same group of men that believe that 4c hair isn’t as attractive as 3c hair… I’ve been natural for 17 years…the flack let’s me know I’m doing something right…
By Shamika Sanders
“L.A. Hair” stylist Angela Christine has mastered weaves, coloring and hair care treatments that will leave you with fabulous tresses! The young professional, specializes in making others beautiful and dedicated one day out to the week to give HelloBeautiful readers, hair tips that she shares with her elite clients!
Read Angela Christine’s advice at hellobeautiful.com
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From bouncy ringlets to kinky curls, it seems that everyone has fallen in love with natural hair and is on a journey to achieve that look. Not only does it personify beauty in the most God-given form, simply put, it can be fab, fierce and fun. But before taking that step, there are 10 things that you should know:
There will be a string of days that your hair wants to do everything except cooperate and you wind up leaving the house looking like who shot John. Before you take a hacksaw to your locks out of sheer frustration or go back to chemicals, remember that everyone goes through this. Try tying it up with a cute turban, twisting into a quick bun or weaving it up to get your mind off of it for a bit.
Your hair will unfairly dictate how you’re perceived by others. Plenty of naturals I’ve spoken to have been on the receiving end of comments such as, “You’re so afrocentric,” “I bet you love thrifting,” even “I dig neo-soul too!” Although most of these judgment calls are positive, a lot of them can be far from who you actually are. The good news is that just by staying true to yourself, your presumed personality won’t even matter because the real you will always win out.
Some men will believe you’re keen on bedroom experimentation because clearly wild hair equals a wild woman. Ladies, if he mentions hair pulling, running his fingers through your mane or says you look like a Queen of the jungle, please kick him to the curb. Immediately.
People will eye your hair like they want to snatch it right off your scalp. The guy sitting across from you on the train. The couple at the next table. And did that woman just sneak a pic?! If it seems like everyone around you is stealing glances, no need to seek a shrink, you’re probably right. This can be for numerous reasons, but a lot of it boils down to plain ole curiosity and fascination. Our hair is unlike any other and though the natural hair movement has certainly taken off, your tresses are still a sight to see. Just carry on with your fabulous self and after awhile, it won’t even faze you.
You’ll make some great friends just because you have a head full of crazy gorgeous curls, waves and kinks. Random people will approach you in the supermarket, on the street, at work – anywhere that your hair is on display, to ask you a million and one questions. Every. Day. Revel in it and enjoy.
I like to call it the grab ‘n’ go. That moment when someone feels it necessary to grab your hair, comment and continue on as though nothing happened. When this occurs, resist the urge to slap, bite or karate chop their hand. Politely make it known that this is inappropriate, fluff your curls and walk away.
You’ll probably lose weight. Exercise may become a steady part of your routine since you’re not worried about sweating out your hair. A lot of naturals also tend to start chowing down on healthier foods and taking vitamins because eating right can help hair grow to its full potential. You might not completely cut the fat, but you will want to start paying closer attention to what goes in your body.
You’ll become a chemist. In the quest for that holy grail product that will leave you with luscious, enviable locks, you’ll start to understand every ingredient, know the pronunciations and even make your own concoctions. Flax seed gel anyone?
Speaking of which, you may find that your hair actually likes “bad” ingredients. A lot of women are quick to jump on the organic only bandwagon, but many naturals claim that they can’t live without sulfates and cones. Some of the products that use these ingredients might just leave you with the best ringlets of your life. Don’t be afraid to try what others have shunned.
You’ve heard the stories. Once you chop your hair, you’ll feel like a brand new woman. You’ll be empowered, bold and ready to take on the world. In all honesty, this may not happen. Some women may feel their hair, take a look at themselves and say, “what the %$*@# did I just do?!” This is entirely normal after years of the same style, but trust me, you’ll start to love your kinks and coils as they grow out.
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Somewhere in between a Velvet Remi full sew-in with red highlights and a head full of jet black Bohemian Kinky Curl, for ten minutes I contemplated taking it all off, leaving my hair very short. Not just my weave (everyone knows that my mantra is, “All I need in this world of sin, is me and my sew-in”) but my natural auburn shoulder length hair as well. And by short I didn’t mean Halle Berry or Nia Long-short. I was talking little to no hair. I mean, if Amber Rose could do it, why couldn’t I? I’ll tell you why: Because I am a member of the Tyra Banks Five Head Club and had absolutely zero faith that I could pull off that look with the confidence that my cute face would make up for my “high hairline.” I was also bothered by the fact that my man might feel some type of way if he reached to touch my head and felt something that was similar to his own.
Every woman can admit to coming to a point of defeat after weighing her options of weave vs. wash vs. curl vs. braids vs. locs before wondering, “What if I just shaved it all off?” But few of us actually make the final cut. I‘ve always admired women like Chrisette Michele, Erykah Badu and even Willow Smith whose beautiful faces emerged from behind long locks with confident cool. Even Cassie’s partially shaven do was edgy, but before I could commit to it I wondered, “What about when I need to pull my hair up into a ponytail?” Shaving my head will probably remain a figment of my imagined edginess because I can admit that I attach much of my femininity and style to my crowning glory. As beautiful as I feel my face is, I attribute half of that beauty to a flattering hairstyle.
Fortunately, I was able to live vicariously through a friend. We’ll call her Katrina. On March 12, she posted a Facebook pic of herself wearing a short cropped fade which simply read, “My new look.” She had publicly debated for weeks between box braids or a simple wash and curl. On one occasion she gave all her Facebook friends an inside look into her husband’s thoughts on beauty, writing:
“My husband asked me last night why don’t I cut my hair short. I told him bc I wear alot of sweats, t’s, & sneakers, & I don’t want him to feel like I’m not being lady like. He said, ‘I wouldn’t care, as long as we don’t have the same/similiar cut.’— He made my heart smile. l’ve been contemplating either cutting my hair short or starting dreads for awhile. Without knowing it he gave me a little more confidence & courage to go for it.”
I don’t know about you but I’ve never been fond of the salon, probably because no one in my family has ever been a slave to it. Even though my grandmother was a beautician before my mother was born, we just weren’t the type to have to hit the salon every week to maintain our hair and so I never experienced the whole beauty shop culture phenomenon black women speak of on a regular basis, and the times that I did, I could take it or leave it. With the natural hair movement rapidly growing legs, many other black women may not experience it either, and New Jersey college professor Cassandra Jackson wonders if they’ll be missing out on something if they don’t.
In an article for The Huffington Post asking, Is Natural Hair the End of Black Beauty Culture?, she wrote:
“While many, including me, celebrate the natural hair movement’s emphasis on self-discovery, I cannot help but wonder if something has also been lost with this cultural shift. For all the horrible things about hair straightening, the experiences associated with it have created a powerful thread that connects the vast majority of black women. Even if you have kinky hair now, you probably have memories of time spent with family and friends in kitchens getting your hair done by someone who loved you and who you trusted enough to wield a sizzling hot straightening comb next to your ear. You probably remember that first trip to the beauty shop where black women talked about grown folks’ business, and nearly every sentence began with the endearment, “girl.” It does not matter if your mother was a teacher or housekeeper, or if you were in New York or Alabama because these experiences crossed class and region. Hair straightening was a rite of passage, an entry into the world of black women.”
It’s interesting the author would use the very negative stories most natural women use as proof for why girls shouldn’t have their hair straightened as an example of a dying part of our culture we might want to save for the bonding effect. In a lot of ways I feel like the whole gather around the salon pastime is more rooted in mystique than reality. The shop was certainly the place to be for neighborhood gossip at one point in time but I’ve yet to hear a women talk about the salon with the same fondness as say our generation’s grandmothers may have in a long time. Anyone woman I know going to a black salon dreads it because they know their evening or day is pretty much shot, and whatever stories they get coming out aren’t worth the time and money spent getting them. From my perspective, and I’m sure a lot of others, black women who aren’t passing the time getting their hair fried, dyed, and laid to the side in someone’s kitchen or shop aren’t missing anything, but the truth is the social dynamic of the beauty shop hasn’t gone away with natural hair, it just changed.
For black women, hair has now gone the way of everything else in our culture: digital. You can’t tell me the shared experience of hair successes and trajedies doesn’t still exist just because less women are getting relaxers. The conversation has simply moved from a face-to-face interaction to Youtube videos, blog posts, and discussion boards. I’m not natural, but I’ve written, read, and engaged in the movement enough to know that the e-bonding that goes on over transitioning is real, perhaps realer than any salon experience could ever provide. For one, there’s no judgment—anything pretty much goes when it comes to creative natural styles—and there’s no misguided frustration. Everyone is on the board, blog or vlog, for the same purpose, to get knowledge and give encouragement, and it’s truthfully the most positive space I’ve ever seen for black women and their hair ever. It also helps there’s no tardy salon owner who didn’t style your hair the way you wanted but still charged you full price to get mad at.
Though natural hair has sparked a self-service industry of hair care with women learning how to maintain and grow their own locks, the communal aspect of sharing stories and advice and product knowledge as it relates to our tresses is hardly dying. It’s growing. You also can’t forget the natural hair mixers and grassroots meet-ups that women have begun organizing in various cities so that naturals and transitioners can match faces to usernames and share experiences and their journeys of self-discovery. I’ve never seen a weave support group or a relaxer party in my life, but big chop events are increasingly growing in popularity and signify the incomparable support black women have for one another and the way we’re choosing to not battle good hair versus bad hair any longer but celebrate all of the textures we were born with.
The natural movement has also sparked the same type of e-communities for women with relaxed hair and who wear weaves which is also pretty monumental. The advice is different but the end-goal of having healthy hair you can take care of yourself is the same. So yes, we may be rallying around laptops now instead of barber chairs and kitchens, but we’re more united than we’ve ever been when it comes to celebrating our hair and if anything this signifies what the natural hair movement is all about: transition and progression.
How do you think salon culture compares with online hair communities?
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